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These brief services may guide the daily prayer of individuals and families as well as in other settings. When more than one person is present, the versicles and responses may be spoken responsively, with one person reading the words in regular type and the others responding with the words in bold type. Prayers may be prayed in the same fashion, though those in bold type are to be prayed by all. For the readings, several verses have been recommended for each particular time of day. These may be used on a rotating basis. The value in using these few texts lies in the opportunity to learn them well. For those desiring a more complete selection of readings, daily lectionaries, such as those found in Lutheran Worship, pp. 295­99, Lutheran Worship Altar Book, pp. 133­36, or The Lutheran Hymnal, pp. 161­64, may be used. Readings from the Small Catechism can also be incorporated into the services. In the prayers "for others and ourselves," the following suggestions may assist in establishing a rhythm of daily and weekly prayer. Sunday:




Thursday: Friday:


Orders for Daily Prayer from Hymnal Supplement 98, ©1998 Concordia Publishing House (pp. 28­32). The text of the Orders for Daily Prayer was prepared for, and adopted by, The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod in 1998. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for the orders are from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.



For the joy of the resurrection among us; for true and godly worship throughout the world; for the faithful preaching and hearing of God's Word For faith to live in the promises of Holy Baptism; for one's calling and daily work; for the unemployed; for the salvation and well-being of our neighbors; for government; for peace For deliverance against temptation; for the addicted and despairing, the tortured and oppressed; for those struggling with sin For marriage and family, that all may live together under the grace of Christ according to the Word of God; for adults who must rear their children alone; for godly schools, church schools, and seminaries For the Church and her pastors; for missionaries; for fruitful and salutary use of the sacrament of Christ's body and blood For the preaching of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and for its spread throughout the whole world, especially our community; for the persecuted; for the sick and dying For faithfulness to the end; for the renewal of those who are withering in the faith or have fallen away; for receptive hearts and minds to God's Word on the Lord's Day; for pastors and people as they prepare to receive Christ's gifts


The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Psalm 51:15

Psalm 5:3

A hymn, canticle, or psalm may be sung or said.


If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will Colossians 3:1­4 ESV appear with Him in glory.

Other readings: Exodus 15:1­11; Isaiah 12:1­6; Matthew 20:1­16; Mark 13:32­36; Luke 24:1­8; John 21:4­14; Ephesians 4:17­24; Romans 6:1­4. The Apostles' Creed may be confessed.


· Lord's Prayer · Prayers for others and ourselves · Concluding collect:

Almighty God, merciful Father, who created and completed all things, on this day when the work of our calling begins anew, we implore You to create its beginning, direct its continuance, and bless its end, that our doings may be preserved from sin, our life sanctified, and our work this day be well pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.



I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go joyfully to your work.

Small Catechism


The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear my prayer and answer me. Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress and He hears my voice. Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 55:1­2, 16­17, 22

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

A hymn, canticle, or psalm may be sung or said.



Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

1 Corinthians 7:17a, 23­24 ESV

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!" And having said this He breathed His last.

Luke 23:44­46 ESV

Other readings: Matthew 5:13­16; Matthew 13:1­9, 18­23; Mark 13:23­27; John 15:1­9; Romans 7:18­25; Romans 12:1­2; 1 Peter 1:3­9; Revelation 7:13­17.


· Lord's Prayer · Prayers for others and ourselves · Concluding collect:

Blessed Savior, at this hour You hung upon the cross, stretching out Your loving arms. Grant that all the peoples of the earth may look to You and be saved; for Your mercy's sake. Amen. Heavenly Father, send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to Your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.



Before or after the evening meal The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A candle on the family altar or dinner table may be lighted.

Joyous light of glory of the immortal Father; heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ. We have come to the setting of the sun, and we look to the evening light. We sing to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: You are worthy of being praised with pure voices forever. O Son of God, O giver of life: the universe proclaims Your glory.

A hymn, canticle, or psalm may be sung or said.


So they drew near to the village to which they were going. [Jesus] acted as if He were going farther, but they urged Him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So He went in to stay with them. When He was at table with them, He took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And He Luke 24:28­31 ESV vanished from their sight.

Other readings: Exodus 16:11­21, 31; Isaiah 25:6­9; Matthew 14:15­21; Matthew 27:57­60; Luke 14:15­24; John 6:25­35; John 10:7­18; Ephesians 6:10­18. The Apostles' Creed may be confessed.


· Lord's Prayer · Prayers for asking a blessing and returning thanks at mealtime: · Concluding collect:

Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Lord Jesus, stay with us, for the evening is at hand and the day is past. Be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope among us, that we may know You as You are revealed in Scripture and in the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake of Your love. Amen.



We thank You, Lord God, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, for all Your benefits, who lives and reigns with You forever and ever. Amen.


At bedtime The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and peace at the last. Amen. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to Your name, O Most High; To herald Your love in the morning, Your truth at the close of the day.




Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

Matthew 11:28­30 ESV

Other readings: Micah 7:18­20; Matthew 18:15­35; Matthew 25:1­13; Luke 11:1­13; Luke 12:13­34; Romans 8:31­39; 2 Corinthians 4:16­18; Revelation 21:22­22:5.


Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Lutheran Worship 11


· Lord's Prayer · Prayers for others and ourselves · Concluding collect: I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Small Catechism Amen. Then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.


Early Morning

O everlasting Jesus, in the early morning You gave Yourself to be reviled and scoffed at by Your enemies. Visit us, we pray, at this hour with Your grace and mercy that throughout the day we may find peace and joy in all that serves to bring You praise and glory, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen. works begun, continued and ended in You we may glorify Your holy name and finally by Your mercy obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Late Afternoon

O Lord, our dwelling place and our peace, You have pity on our weakness; put far from us all worry and fearfulness that, having confessed our sins and commending ourselves to Your gracious mercy, we may, when night shall come, commit ourselves, our work, and all we love into Your keeping, receiving from You the gift of quiet sleep; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, You have safely brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us in the same with Your mighty power, and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Your governance, may be righteous in Your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gracious Jesus, our Lord and our God, at this hour You bore our sins in Your own body on the tree so that we, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness. Have mercy upon us now and at the hour of our death, and grant to us, Your servants, with all others who devoutly remember Your blessed Passion, a holy and peaceful life in this world and through Your grace eternal glory in the life to come. Amen.

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help that in all our



Morning Evening Noon Early Afternoon

O Lord God, the life of all the living, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, the repose of the blessed dead, grant us a peaceful night free from all disturbance that after a time of quiet slumber we may by Your goodness be endued in the new day with the guidance of Your Holy Spirit and enabled in peace to render thanks to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

For Use of the Scriptures

Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that by patience and comfort of Your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Preaching of the Word

Grant, we implore You, almighty God, to Your Church, Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom which comes down from above, that Your Word may not be bound but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ's holy people, so that in steadfast faith we may serve You and in the confession of Your name abide to the end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Te Deum

We praise You, O God; we acknowledge You to be the Lord; all the earth now worships You, the Father everlasting. To You all angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein. To You cherubim and seraphim continually do cry: Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of the majesty of Your glory. The glorious company of the apostles praise You; the goodly fellowship of the prophets praise You; the noble army of martyrs praise You; the holy Church throughout all the world does acknowledge You: The Father of an infinite majesty, Your adorable true and only Son, also the Holy Sprirt, the Counselor. You are the king of glory, O Christ; You are the everlasting Son of the Father. When You took upon Yourself to deliver man, You humbled Yourself to be born of a virgin. When You had overcome the sharpness of death, You opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You sit at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father. We believe that You will come to be our judge. We therefore pray You to help Your servants, whom You have redeemed with Your precious blood. Make them to be numbered with Your saints in glory everlasting. O Lord, save Your people and bless Your heritage. Govern them and lift them up forever. Day by day we magnify You. And we worship Your name ever, world without end. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin. O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us. O Lord, let Your mercy be upon us as our trust is in You. O Lord, in You have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

For Peace

O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Lord God our Father, You kept Abraham and Sarah in safety throughout the days of their pilgrimage, You led the children of Israel through the midst of the sea, and by a star You led the Wise Men to the infant Jesus. Protect and guide us now in this time as we set out to travel, make our ways safe and our homecomings joyful, and bring us at last to our heavenly home, where You dwell in glory with Your Son, and the Holy Spirit, God forever.


For Courage Before Travel


The Benedictus

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior; for He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden. For behold, from this day all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things to me, and holy is His name; and His mercy is on those who fear Him throughout all generations. He has shown the strength of His arm and scattered the proud in their own conceit. He has put down the mighty from their seats and exalted the humble and meek. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. He has remembered His mercy and sustained His servant Israel as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.


The Magnificat


and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath that He swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. [During Advent]: And You, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for You will go before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to them who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The Litany

When used in group settings, responses are set in bold type.

O Lord, have mercy. O Christ, have mercy. O Lord, have mercy. O Christ, hear us. God, the Father in heaven, have mercy. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy. Be gracious to us. Spare us good Lord. Be gracious to us. Help us, good Lord. From all sin, from all error, from all evil: From the crafts and assaults of the devil; from sudden and evil death: From pestilence and famine; from war and bloodshed; from sedition and from rebellion: From lightning and tempest; from all calamity by fire and water; and from everlasting death: Good Lord, deliver us. By the mystery of Your holy incarnation; by Your holy nativity: By Your baptism, fasting, and temptation; by Your agony and bloody sweat; by Your cross and Passion; by Your precious death and burial: By Your glorious resurrection and ascension; and by the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter: Help us, good Lord. In all time of tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death; and in the day of judgment: Help us, good Lord. We poor sinners implore You to hear us, O Lord. To rule and govern Your holy Christian Church; to preserve all pastors and ministers of Your Church in the true knowledge and understanding of Your wholesome Word and to sustain them in holy living; To put an end to all schisms and causes of offense; to bring into the way of truth all who have erred and are deceived: To beat down Satan under our feet; to send faithful laborers into Your harvest; and to accompany Your Word with Your grace and Spirit: We implore You to hear us, O Lord. To raise those that fall and to strengthen those that stand; and to comfort and help the weak hearted and the distressed: We implore You to hear us, O Lord.

The following prayers taken from Lutheran Worship, © 1982 Concordia Publishing House: Morning (p. 221), Noon (p. 274), Early Afternoon (p. 232), Late Afternoon (p. 232), Evening (p. 233), For Use of the Scriptures (p. 156), For the Preaching of the Word (p. 156), For Peace (p. 234), For Courage (p. 243), Before Travel (p. 275), The Te Deum (pp. 215­216 alt.), The Benedictus (pp. 217­218), The Magnificat (pp. 228­230), and The Litany (pp. 279­285). The following prayers taken from The Daily Office, © 1965 Concordia Publishing House: Early Morning (p. 680), St. Patrick's Breastplate (p. 671), and Soul of Christ (p. 673).



To give all peoples concord and peace; to preserve our land from discord and strife; to give our country Your protection in every time of need: To direct and defend our President/Queen (King) and all in authority; to bless and protect our magistrates and all our people: To watch over and help all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation; to protect and guide all who travel: To grant all women with child, and all mothers with infant children, increasing happiness in their blessings; to defend all orphans and widows and provide for them: To strengthen and keep all sick persons and young children; to free those in bondage; and to have mercy on us all: We implore You to hear us, good Lord. To forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers and to turn their hearts; to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth; and graciously to hear our prayers: We implore You to hear us, good Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You to hear us. Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy. Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy. Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us Your

peace, O Christ, hear us. O Lord, have mercy. O Christ, have mercy. O Lord, have mercy. Amen.

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me; Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in the hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. I bind myself unto the name, the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three-in-One and One-in-Three, of whom all nature has creation; Eternal Father, Word and Spirit: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Soul of Christ

Soul of Christ, sanctify me; body of Christ, save me; blood of Christ, refresh me; water from the side of Christ, wash me; passion of Christ, strengthen me; O good Jesus, hear me; within Your wounds hide me; never let me be separated from You; from the malicious enemy defend me; in the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to You that with Your saints I may praise You for all eternity. Amen.



Luther's Preface to the Small Catechism

Martin Luther, to all faithful and godly pastors and preachers; grace, mercy, and peace be yours in Jesus Christ, our Lord. The deplorable, miserable conditions which I recently observed when visiting the parishes have constrained and pressed me to put this catechism of Christian doctrine into this brief, plain, and simple form. How pitiable, so help me God, were the things I saw; the common man, especially in the villages, knows practically nothing of Christian doctrine, and many of the pastors are almost entirely incompetent and unable to teach. Yet all the people are supposed to be Christians, have been baptized, and receive the Holy Sacrament even though they do not know the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, or the Ten Commandments and live like poor animals of the barnyard and pigpen. What these people have mastered, however, is the fine art of tearing all Christian liberty to shreds. Oh, you bishops! How will you ever answer to Christ for letting the people carry on so disgracefully and not attending to the duties of your office even for a moment? One can only hope judgment does not strike you! You command the Sacrament in one kind only, insist on the observance of your human ways, and yet are unconcerned whether the people know the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, or indeed any of God's Word. Woe, woe to you forever! Therefore dear brothers, for God's sake, I beg all of you who are pastors and

preachers to devote yourselves sincerely to the duties of your office, that you feel compassion for the people entrusted to your care, and that you help us accordingly to inculcate this catechism in the people, especially the young. If you cannot do more, at least take the tables and charts for catechism instruction and drill the people in them word for word, in the following way: First, the pastor should most carefully avoid teaching the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the sacraments, etc., according to various texts and differing forms. Let him adopt one version, stay with it, and from one year to the next keep using it unchanged. Young and inexperienced persons must be taught a single fixed form or they will easily become confused, and the result will be that all previous effort and labor will be lost. There should be no change, even though one may wish to improve the text. The honored fathers understood this well, and therefore they all consistently used one form of the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. We should do as they did by teaching these materials to the young and the common man without altering a single syllable and by never varying their wording when presenting or quoting them year after year. So adopt whatever form you wish and then stick with it at all times. If, however, you happen to be preaching to some sophisticated, learned audience, then you certainly may demonstrate your skill with words by turning phrases as colorfully and masterfully as you can. But with



young persons keep to a single, fixed, and permanent form and wording, and teach them first of all the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, etc., according to the text, word for word, so that they can repeat it after you and commit it to memory. But those who refuse to learn are to be told that they are denying Christ and do not belong to Him. They are not to be admitted to the Sacrament, accepted as sponsors at Baptism, or allowed to exercise Christian liberty in any way. They should instead be simply directed back to the pope and his functionaries, yes, even to Satan himself. Moreover, their parents and superiors should refuse them food and drink, telling them that the prince is of a mind to expel such rude persons from his realm, and so on. Of course we cannot, and we should not try to, force the Christian faith on anyone. Yet we should steadily keep on urging people toward it and help them know what is considered right and wrong in the society in which they want to live and earn their living. A person who wants to live in a certain city and enjoy its privileges should know and observe its laws, no matter whether he believes in them or is at heart a rogue or scoundrel. Second, after they have well memorized the text (of the catechism), then explain the meaning so that they understand what they are saying. Do so again with the help of these charts or some other brief uniform method of your choosing; adhere to it and do not change a single syllable, as said above concerning the text, taking your time with it. For it is not necessary to teach everything at once, but one thing after the other. After they understand well the meaning of the First Commandment, proceed to the Second, and so on, otherwise they will be too overwhelmed to the point of remembering nothing. Third, after you have so taught them this short catechism, take up the Large Catechism and use it to give them a

broader and richer understanding. Here enlarge on every individual commandment, petition, segment, explaining in each case the various words, uses, benefits, dangers, and hurts involved, as you will find them amply described in many a book dealing with these topics. Stress especially that commandment or any other specific part of the catechism doctrine which your people neglect most. For example, among craftsmen and merchants, farmers and employees, you must powerfully stress the Seventh Commandment, which forbids stealing, because among such people many kinds of dishonesty and thievery occur. Also, for young persons and the common man you must stress the Fourth Commandment, urging them to be orderly, faithful, obedient, and peaceable, always bringing in many Bible examples of how God punished or blessed such people. You should particularly urge those in authority and parents to govern the young well and to send them to school. Show them why it is their duty to do this and explain what a damnable sin it is if they fail to do so. For by such neglect they ruin and destroy both the kingdom of God and that of this world and prove themselves to be the worst enemies of both God and man. Thoroughly underscore what terrible harm they do by not helping train children to become pastors, preachers, writers, and the like, and how God will punish them for it. There is a great need to preach about these things. For parents and those in authority are guilty beyond words in this regard, and the devil has horrible things in mind. Finally, now that the pope's tyranny is over, people no longer want to go to the Sacrament but despise it. Here again urging is necessary, however, with the understanding that we are not to force anyone into the faith or to the Sacrament, nor set any law, time, or place for it. Our preaching should instead be such that of their own accord and without our



As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.

The First Commandment You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.




command, people feel constrained themselves and press us pastors to serve the Sacrament. The way to go about this is to tell them that if anyone does not seek or desire the Lord's Supper at the very least four times a year, it is to be feared that he despises the Sacrament and is not Christian, just as no one is a Christian who does not believe or hear the Gospel. For Christ did not say, "Omit this" or "Despise this," but "This do, as often as you drink it," etc. He most certainly wants it done and does not want it left undone and despised. "This do," he says. For a person not to prize highly the Sacrament is tantamount to saying that he has no sin, no flesh, no devil, no world, no death, no danger, no hell. That is to say, he believes in none of these although he is overwhelmed by them and is the devil's possession twice over. On the other hand, he needs no grace, life, paradise, kingdom of heaven, Christ, God, or any good thing. Surely, if he recognized how much evil is in him and how much he needs all the good things he lacks, he would not neglect the Sacrament, which gives help against such evil and bestows so much goodness. He will not need to be forced by law to the Sacrament but will himself come running in a hurry to the Lord's Table, constrained within himself

and pressing you to give him the Sacrament. Therefore do not set up any law concerning it, as the pope does. Only emphasize clearly the benefit, need, usefulness, and blessing connected with the Sacrament, and also the harm and danger of neglecting it. The people will then come of themselves without your using compulsion. But if they still do not come, then let them go their way and tell them that all who are insensitive or unaware of their great need and God's gracious help belong to the devil. But if you fail to urge these things or if you make it into law and bitterness, then the fault will be yours if they despise the Sacrament. Why should they not be lazy if you are asleep and silent? So look to it, you pastors and preachers. Our ministry today is something else than it was under the pope. It has become a serious and saving responsibility. Consequently it now involves much more trouble and labor, danger and trial, and in addition it brings you little of the world's gratitude and rewards. But Christ Himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully. The Father of all grace help us to do just that. To Him be praise and thanks forever through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Second Commandment You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

The Third Commandment Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest possible way.

The Ninth Commandment You shall not covet your neighbor's house.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

The Fourth Commandment Honor your father and your mother.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor's money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

The Eighth Commandment You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies


The Fifth Commandment You shall not murder. The Sixth Commandment The Seventh Commandment You shall not steal.


The Tenth Commandment You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor's wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.

The Close of the Commandments

What does God say about all of these commandments?

He says, "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments." (Exodus 20:5­6)

What does this mean? God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.


As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

The First Article:


I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean? I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.

He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil.

has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean? I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who



The Second Article


The Third Article


I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.


As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Introduction Our Father who art in heaven.

What does this mean? With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.

The Third Petition Thy will be done.

The will of God is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.

What does this mean? God's name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.

How is God's name kept holy? God's name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God's Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!

What does this mean? The kingdom of God certainly comes by itself without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may come to us also. How does God's kingdom come? God's kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.



The First Petition Hallowed be Thy name. The Second Petition Thy kingdom come.

How is God's will done? God's will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God's name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.

The Fourth Petition Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

The Fifth Petition And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean? We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.

The Seventh Petition But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean? We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.

The Sixth Petition And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean? God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things,

Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God's command and combined with God's word. Which is that word of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)



First What is Baptism?


The Conclusion For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

What does this mean? This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven, and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen, means "yes, yes, it shall be so."

As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

Second What benefits does Baptism give?

It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. Which are these words and promises of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16)

Third How can water do such great things?

Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with the faith which trusts this word of God in the water. For without God's word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus, chapter three: "He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying." (Titus 3:5­8)

Fourth What does such baptizing with water indicate?

It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever. Where is this written? St. Paul writes in Romans chapter six: "We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:4)

Confession has two parts.

First, that we confess our sins, and

second, that we receive absolution, that is, forgiveness, from the pastor as from God Himself, not doubting, but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even those we are not aware of, as we do in the Lord's Prayer; but before the pastor we should confess only those sins which we know and feel in our hearts.



How Christians should be taught to confess.

What is Confession?

Which are these?

Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments: Are you a father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, or worker? Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy? Have you been hottempered, rude, or quarrelsome? Have you hurt someone by your words or deeds? Have you stolen, been negligent, wasted anything, or done any harm?




The penitent says: Dear confessor, I ask you please to hear my confession and to pronounce forgiveness in order to fulfill God's will.


I, a poor sinner, plead guilty before God of all sins. In particular I confess before you that as a servant, maid, etc., I, sad to say, serve my master unfaithfully, for in this and that I have not done what I was told to do. I have made him angry and caused him to curse. I have been negligent and allowed damage to be done. I have also been offensive in words and deeds. I have quarreled with my peers. I have grumbled about the lady of the house and cursed her. I am sorry for all of this and I ask for grace. I want to do better.

Yes, dear confessor.

Then let him say:

Let it be done for you as you believe. And I, by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive you your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Go in peace. A confessor will know additional passages with which to comfort and to strengthen the faith of those who have great burdens of conscience or are sorrowful and distressed. This is intended only as a general form of confession.

A master or lady of the house may say:

In particular I confess before you that I have not faithfully guided my children, servants, and wife to the glory of God. I have cursed. I have set a bad example by indecent words and deeds. I have hurt my neighbor and spoken evil of him. I have overcharged, sold inferior merchandise, and given less than was paid for. [Let the penitent confess whatever else he has done against God's commandments and his own position.] If, however, someone does not find himself burdened with these or greater sins, he should not trouble himself or search for or invent other sins, and thereby make confession a torture. Instead, he should mention one or two that he knows: In particular I confess that I have cursed; I have used improper words; I have neglected this or that, etc. Let that be enough. But if you know of none at all (which hardly seems possible), then mention none in particular, but receive the forgiveness upon the general confession which you make to God before the confessor.

Then the confessor shall say:

God be merciful to you and strengthen your faith. Amen.


Do you believe that my forgiveness is God's forgiveness?



What is the Office of the Keys?*

The Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.

Where is this written?*

This is what St. John the Evangelist writes in chapter twenty: The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven" (John 20:22­23).

What do you believe according to these words?*

I believe that when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His divine command, in particular when they exclude openly unrepentant sinners from the Christian congregation and absolve those who repent of their sins and want to do better, this is just as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ our dear Lord dealt with us Himself.

*These questions may not have been composed by Luther himself but reflect his teachings and were included in editions of the Small Catechism during his lifetime.


As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

Where is this written?

The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and St. Paul write: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: "Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me." In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?

Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: "forgiveness of sins."

What is the benefit of this eating and drinking?

These words, "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins," shows us that



Who receives this sacrament worthily?

Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words "for you" require all hearts to believe.


How the head of the family should teach his household to pray morning and evening.

Morning Prayer

In the morning when you get up, make the sign of the holy cross and say:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

How the head of the family should teach his household to ask a blessing and return thanks.

Asking a Blessing

The children and the members of the household shall go the table reverently, fold their hands, and say:

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desires of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15­16)

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. If you choose, you may also say this little prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go joyfully to your work, singing a hymn, like that of the Ten Commandments, or whatever your devotion may suggest.

In the evening when you go to bed, make the sign of the holy cross and say: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Then kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. If you choose, you may also say this little prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.



Evening Prayer

Then shall be said the Lord's Prayer and the following:

Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Returning Thanks

Also, after eating, they shall, in like manner, reverently and with folded hands say:

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever. He gives food to every creature. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love (Psalms 136:1, 25; 147:9­11).

Then shall be said the Lord's Prayer and the following:

We thank You, Lord God, heavenly Father, for all Your benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.


Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, admonishing them about their duties and responsibilities.

To Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers

"The overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 1 Tim. 3:2­4 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 1 Tim. 3:6 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:9

Of Civil Government

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Rom. 13:1­4

What the Hearers Owe Their Pastors

The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. 1 Cor. 9:14 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Gal. 6:6­7 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages." 1 Tim. 5:17­18. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 1 Thess. 5:12­13 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. Heb. 13:17



Of Citizens

Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. Matt. 22:21 It is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Rom. 13:5­7 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior. 1 Tim. 2:1­3 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good. Titus 3:1 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme

authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 1 Peter 2:13­14

To Husbands

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Col. 3:19

Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Eph. 6:5­8

To Employers and Supervisors

Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him. Eph. 6:9

To Youth

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:5­6

To Wives

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Eph. 5:22 They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 1 Peter 3:5­6

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and your mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Eph. 6:1­3

To Workers of All Kinds

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of


To Parents To Children


To Widows

The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 1 Tim. 5:5­6

To Everyone

The commandments are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Rom. 13:9 I urge ... that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. 1 Tim. 2:1

Let each his lesson learn with care, and all the household well shall fare.


Prepared by Dr. Martin Luther for those who intend to go to the Sacrament.

After confession and instruction in the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the pastor may ask, or Christians may ask themselves these questions: 1. Do you believe that you are a sinner? Yes, I believe it. I am a sinner. 2. How do you know this? From the Ten Commandments, which I have not kept. 3. Are you sorry for your sins? Yes, I am sorry that I have sinned against God. 4. What have you deserved from God because of your sins? His wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation. See Romans 6:21, 23. 5. Do you hope to be saved? Yes, that is my hope. 6. In whom then do you trust? In my dear Lord Jesus Christ. 7. Who is Christ? The Son of God, true God and man. 8. How many Gods are there? Only one, but there are three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 9. What has Christ done for you that you trust in Him? He died for me and shed His blood for me on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. 10. Did the Father also die for you? He did not. The Father is God only, as is the Holy Spirit; but the Son is both true God and true man. He died for me and shed His blood for me. 11. How do you know this? From the holy Gospel, from the words instituting the Sacrament, and by His body and blood given me as a pledge in the Sacrament.

12. What are the Words of Institution? Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: "Take eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me." In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: "Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 13. Do you believe, then, that the true body and blood of Christ are in the Sacrament? Yes, I believe it. 14. What convinces you to believe this? The word of Christ: Take, eat, this is My body; drink of it, all of you, this is My blood. 15. What should we do when we eat His body and drink His blood, and in this way receive His pledge? We should remember and proclaim His death and the shedding of His blood, as He taught us: This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. 16. Why should we remember and proclaim His death? First, so that we may learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins. Only Christ, true God and man, could do that. Second, so we may learn to be horrified by our sins, and to regard them as very serious. Third, so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.



Copyright © 1986 Concordia Publishing House Note: The text of this translation of Luther's Small Catechism was prepared for, and adopted by, The Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod in 1986. Scripture quotations for the translation are from The Holy Bible: New International Version®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.



17. What motivated Christ to die and make full payment for your sins? His great love for His Father and for me and other sinners, as it is written in John 14; Romans 5; Galatians 2 and Ephesians 5. 18. Finally, why do you wish to go to the Sacrament? That I may learn to believe that Christ, out of great love, died for my sin, and also learn from Him to love God and my neighbor. 19. What should admonish and encourage a Christian to receive the Sacrament frequently? First, both the command and the promise of Christ the Lord. Second, his own pressing need, because of which the command, encouragement, and promise are given. 20. But what should you do if you are not aware of this need and have no hunger and thirst for the Sacrament? To such a person no better advice can be given than this: first, he should

touch his body to see if he still has flesh and blood. Then he should believe what the Scriptures say of it in Galatians 5 and Romans 7. Second, he should look around to see whether he is still in the world, and remember that there will be no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say in John 15­16 and in 1 John 2 and 5. Third, he will certainly have the devil also around him, who with his lying and murdering day and night will let him have no peace, within or without, as the Scriptures picture him in John 8 and 16; 1 Peter 5; Ephesians 6; and 2 Timothy 2. Note: These questions and answers are no child's play, but are drawn up with great earnestness of purpose by the venerable and devout Dr. Luther for both young and old. Let each one pay attention and consider it a serious matter; for St. Paul writes to the Galatians in chapter six: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked."



"For the person who believes and holds Christ's Word--heaven stands open, hell is shut tight, the devil is captured and sin forgiven. That person is a child of life eternal. This is taught by this book, the Holy Scriptures, and by no other book on earth. Therefore, let one who would live forever study it diligently."

Martin Luther 1

The word Bible is from a Greek word that means "book." What is this "good book"? That question has a two-part answer. First, the Bible is actually a collection of books, from Genesis to Revelation. It was written over thousands of years, in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. There are many different kinds of writing in the Bible: historical narrative, prophecy, poetry, speeches, letters, and so on. From a merely human perspective, there is no question that the Bible is a masterpiece of literature. Second, the much more important answer to the question, "What is the Bible?" is this: The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is the collection of the thoughts­even the very words­that God gave to the authors of the biblical books. The Bible is a gift God has given to His church. It is not a collection of ancient fables and myths. The Bible is the sure and certain means that God the Holy


What Is the Bible?


Throughout the ages, the Bible has provided inspiration, comfort and guidance to those who have read it. But is the Bible merely an inspirational book? It is this, but so much more! Let's spend a few moments reviewing some important truths about the Bible.

Spirit uses to communicate God's Word to us today.

How Did We Receive the Bible?

The Bible itself explains how we received it. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). We read elsewhere that, "No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). Because people knew that the Bible was the actual Word of God, it was copied and recopied with painstaking care and attention to detail, letter by letter, word by word. Though today we no longer possess the actual, original text of the Bible, we can be certain that the Holy Spirit has preserved the Word of God for us. Careful study of the many thousands of copies of the New Testament reveals that though there are minor differences between the various copies, there is no place where any key teaching of the Bible is contradicted. Our English Bibles are translations from the original languages. Whatever the Word of God is in--Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek--it is also the Word of God in English, or in any other translation that is faithful to the original languages.

Why Is the Bible So Important?

Someone may say, "The Bible is important to me because it tells me what to do," and another person might say, "The old stories remind me of my childhood" or "The Bible is a guidebook for daily living." These answers all have a grain of truth, but they miss the real reason why the Bible is so important: It is the sure and certain source for knowing who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me" (John 5:39). The main message of the Bible is the good news of God's work of reconciling the world to Himself through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the central message of Scripture is the account of how God prepared the world to receive His Son and then what His Son did when He was here. It tells how the church received this glorious message of salvation, and how it grew and spread throughout the known world. Luther once compared the Bible to the swaddling clothes the baby Jesus was wrapped in. Thus, the Bible is Christ-centered. Our Lord Jesus said, "If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples" (John 8:31). The divine authority and reliability of the Bible does not rest on the persons God used to write the Bible, nor on the endorsement of the Bible by the church, but rests entirely on the fact that it is the Word of the Lord. How do we know this? This confession of the Bible's complete authority is part of the certainty of the faith God gives to us as a gift. Real human beings were given real words from God to write down. As our Lord Jesus Christ was both true God and true man, so the Bible is truly the Word of God and also the writing of human beings. Even as our Lord Jesus took on human flesh free from sin and error, so God used human beings to provide a written revelation of Himself that is free

from error. Thus, we believe that the Bible is both incapable of error (infallible) and free from error (inerrant). The Bible has a very important distinction one needs to keep in mind in order to understand the Bible correctly: the difference between Law and Gospel. The Bible reveals God's perfect holiness and righteousness, and His expectation of perfection. His Law, summarized best in the Ten Commandments, reveals our sinful rebellion and our inability to save ourselves. The Gospel is the joyful news that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us complete forgiveness from our sins through His life, death, and resurrection for us. The proper distinction between Law and Gospel is the key to understanding the Bible correctly. The most important message of the Bible is not the Law of God. The Bible is not simply a collection of principles, or wise sayings, for daily living. The Bible is not a textbook that answers every possible question we may have. Nor for that matter is the Bible a book that predicts every last detail about the future. The central and most important teaching in the Bible is the Gospel, the good news of God's gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the message that predominates throughout the Bible, from Old Testament to New Testament. Thus the Bible is Gospel-centered, because it is Christcentered. We know that the Bible was not given merely for the sake of itself. We are not saved because we own a Bible. We are not saved because we read a Bible. We are saved by our Lord Jesus Christ, who is revealed in the Bible. We believe the Bible because it is the Lord's Word. We believe in Him, thus we believe His Word to be true. We receive what He has given. He has given us the Scriptures. Thus, the Bible is the foundation and touchstone for everything that the church believes, teaches, confesses, and practices. Why? Because the Bible is the inspired, Christ-centered, and Gospel-centered Word of the Lord.



How Do We Use the Bible?

The Bible is foundational for the church's ministry. The Bible was never intended to stand alone, or apart from, the community of faith we call the church. It is sad when some people think that, if they just read the Bible, they can stay away from church. We receive our Lord's gifts with joy and do not say, "We want this, but not that." It would be misleading if our high respect for the Scriptures was used to drive a wedge between the Bible and the church. The church is the gathering of God's people around the Lord's Word and Sacraments. The Scriptures are the sure and certain revelation of God's Word and thus are to be heard, read, studied, and meditated on by Christians at church and at home. Lutherans realize that Scripture must be interpreted according to the central truth of the Bible, the Gospel, not picked apart and made to teach things that actually conflict with the Gospel. Therefore, we pay close attention to the grammar and words of the Bible, seeking out the intended meaning, which is the plain sense of the text. We recognize that God the Holy Spirit works through the Scriptures to create and sustain the church as it comes together around the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments.

The Grace of God

The thread that runs throughout the Scriptures and gives unity to all the books of the Bible is God's grace. While God is holy, just, all-powerful, all-knowing and the sovereign ruler of the universe, the attribute that God's Word emphasizes primarily, from Genesis to Revelation, is His grace. God's grace is clearly depicted and easy to observe in the New Testament,




Whenever the Word of God is preached, taught, studied, read, learned, or meditated on, the Holy Spirit is actively turning people from their sin and drawing them to Christ for their salvation. Thus, we will want to be in the Word daily. Away from church we read and meditate on the Word through private and family devotions. At church, our hymns and liturgy are anchored in the Word of God. Our pastors preach to us on the basis of the Scripture lessons appointed for each Sunday in the church year. Our school teachers lead our children into a deeper knowledge of the Word of God. In Sunday school, children learn the biblical accounts and thus have a foundation for their lives. In youth and adult Bible studies, the Scriptures are studied in a variety of ways so they can inform and enlighten us and help us understand how we live out our lives as God's people. What a blessed gift the Holy Scriptures are to us and to all people! Everything God wants us to know about Himself is contained in His Word. Through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth about our sinful condition and the joyful news of God's saving work for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Truly, God's Word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Ps. 119:105). For that reason we pray, "Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word." 2

which records the ministry, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Also, in the Old Testament the grace of God is the underlying theme. Already in the early chapters of Genesis we see a recurring cycle of sin, judgment, and grace. After the fall of Adam and Eve into sin and God's judgment on them and on the human race, Yahweh promises His grace in Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmity between you and

the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." The cycle is repeated in the following chapter. When Cain kills his brother Abel, the Lord pronounces judgment in banishing Cain--but He immediately shows His grace by placing a protective mark on Cain. The third cycle occurs in Genesis 6­9. The sins of the people cause God to impose judgment by sending a flood. However, He also graciously preserves Noah and his family. Later, when Noah's descendants sin and attempt to build a tower to heaven, God's judgment results in the confusion of their speech and in scattering them far and wide. His grace is shown in the calling of Abraham, whose descendants would be God's chosen people and the forebears of the promised Messiah (Gen. 11­12). Throughout the rest of the Old Testament God's grace follows sin and judgment--both in the lives of the leaders and in the history of the nation of Israel. Whether in the case of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or in the careers of the kings, such as David and Solomon, Scripture candidly reveals their sin and God's judgment--but His grace follows immediately. Also in the history of the Jewish people, sin (particularly their idolatry and general rebellion) produces judgment (e.g., the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities), but the grace of God restores them as a nation. God's grace, as the primary key to the intricacies of the Old Testament, is revealed especially in the promise of final deliverance through a Messiah. This future Savior is described particularly in two different settings. Daniel depicts Him as "one like a son of man.... To Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom ... that shall not be destroyed" (7:13­14). Isaiah, on the other hand, pictures the Messiah as a suffering servant (ch. 53). These contrasting descriptions led some Jews at the time of Jesus to

expect two separate Messiahs--for these passages seem to be contradictory. It is through the additional illumination in the New Testament that the apparent discrepancy is solved in the person of Jesus Christ, who is both a suffering servant and the resurrected Lord of the church. As the promises and the description of the Messiah are more vague in the Old Testament, so the grace of God in the Old Testament may not be as clear as it is in the New Testament. Nevertheless, it is the theme that unites all the books of the Bible into a unified whole.

Through Faith Alone

The grace of God involves another principal teaching--"through faith alone." It is through faith that believers receive the benefit of God's grace as St. Paul states in Ephesians: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (2:8­9). Paul elaborates on the contrast between "through faith" and "by works" in his letters to the Romans and to the Galatians. It is a truth that cannot be overemphasized, for it clarifies the essence of God's grace. Without the specific stress on "through faith" and "not by works," the grace of God stands in danger of becoming merely a diluted form of favor rather than genuine grace. Human beings are strongly inclined by nature to take at least some credit for any attainments. Even Christians, who are still infected by their natural ego, are prone to view their salvation as the result of some contribution on their part. They are tempted to view their faith as an act that they can perform of themselves, as if their acceptance of the Gospel message were an achievement to their credit. Both in Galatians and in Romans Paul stresses this point as he summarizes it in the passage cited from Ephesians: "faith is not your own doing, it is the gift of God." Virtually all non-Christian religions



teach a form of work righteousness (synergism) as a means of gaining the favor of the supreme being(s). It is a notion that also infiltrates the Christian church when it is implied that salvation, at least in part, depends on us, if only on our decision. But Scripture teaches that salvation is the result of God's grace, appropriated only through faith, which is a gift from God. This teaching is unique to Christianity; it is the basic premise of God's Word and is essential to the understanding of the Gospel.

Scripture Alone

Another principal teaching, which is a corollary to the previous themes, is that Scripture is the sole source of doctrine and practice. Although the ability to reason, which is also a gift from God, distinguishes human beings from animals, it is not to be regarded as the criterion by which questions of a religious nature are answered. Where paradoxes occur, a childlike faith must prevail over logical deductions. Scripture takes precedence over reason. This means that when, for example, God's Word teaches a triune Deity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--we bow to biblical revelation, even though such a teaching is beyond the understanding of our human mind. The same is true when the Scriptures speak of the virgin birth of Jesus, of His twofold nature (God and man), of His resurrection and ascension, of the partaking of His body and blood in the Lord's Supper. All these teachings we believe because they are stated in Scripture, although they are beyond our mortal comprehension. Scripture must be the sole source of doctrine and practice because God's written Word is in a class by itself, completely different from all other books. "All Scripture is breathed out by God" (2 Tim. 3:16) and " ... men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). God is the author of all of Scripture. Through the Holy Spirit

He directed the thoughts and the very words that the various human writers from Moses to John wrote, while employing their style and thought processes. It is the inspired, God-breathed Scripture from which all Christian doctrine and admonition must be derived, for Paul continues the passage just cited by declaring that all Scripture is to be used "for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). The teaching that Scripture alone, not reason, must be the only and final judge of doctrine may be illustrated by the answers to the question concerning the source of salvation and the source of damnation. Two answers have been given throughout the history of Christian thought--each logical according to our natural powers of reasoning. One reply is that man himself is finally responsible either for his salvation or damnation, depending on what he does or fails to do--including both his deeds and his personal decision. The other answer is that God is the ultimate source, depending on whether He has elected and predestined people to salvation or to damnation. According to rules of logic, each set of answers is reasonable and there is no third alternative. But according to Scripture, there is another reply to the query; namely, that God is the source of salvation (Eph. 2:8­9) and man is responsible for damnation (Matt. 23:37). So regardless of what our reason would dictate, we must answer theological questions on the basis of Scripture alone, which paradoxically teaches concerning salvation: "For by grace you have been saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8), and concerning damnation: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... How often would I have gathered your children together ... and you would not" (Matt. 23:37).


Law and Gospel


The alternatives of damnation and salvation suggest another principal teaching derived from Holy Writ--Law and Gospel.

A popular way to express the difference between these terms is by the letters S O S. Thus the Law "Shows Our Sins," while the Gospel "Shows Our Savior." The entire Bible contains both Law and Gospel, the Old Testament as well as the New. It is frequently assumed that the Old Testament is Law and the New Testament is Gospel. However, as we have pointed out previously, the Old Testament also presents the grace of God, which is the Gospel; and the New Testament contains Law as well as Gospel. Any serious study of Scripture must recognize both Law and Gospel and must distinguish between them. To omit either one or to confuse the two invites a misunderstanding of Christian doctrine. Preaching the atoning ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ without first proclaiming the sinfulness of the human race is an exercise in folly. The Gospel must be preceded by a proclamation of the Law, which shows the hearers their need for a Savior, who has released them from the guilt and punishment of their sinfulness. Preaching the Gospel apart from the Law results in a diluted, shallow, emotional message. Likewise, to proclaim the Law without the comforting truth of the Gospel can offer no assurance to a troubled conscience. However, mingling Law and Gospel, or assigning the function of one to the other, is equally dangerous. Statements such as, "You are saved if you believe" or "You are saved because you believe" are a mixing of Law and Gospel, for the words "if" and "because" imply conditions and contributions in addition to God's grace. The grace of God is complete and unconditional. Our salvation is fully achieved by the suffering, death, and resurrection of God's one and only Son, Jesus Christ. It does not depend on anything we do or have done--or any "if" or "because" on our part. To mix Law and Gospel is to pervert and destroy the sweet message of God's grace. Our faith is not our contri-

bution or our work; it is a gift of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is also important to distinguish between Law and Gospel concerning the source of salvation and damnation. According to Ephesians 1, our salvation is the result of our election by God from eternity, which is a Gospel message. To deduce by logical reasoning that therefore some people must be predestined to damnation is Law --a clear instance of mingling Law and Gospel. On the other hand, the "unreasonable" doctrine of election to salvation (but not to damnation) is a particularly comforting part of the Gospel message. When Christians ponder their spiritual situation, especially in the later years of life, and wonder whether they will remain in faith at the hour of death, the biblical teaching on election offers reliable assurance. If faith were their own accomplishment, fear that faith might fail before death would present some cause for doubt and alarm. But thanks to our election to salvation from eternity by God's grace, our faith is a gift of God, the result of God's choice, and is sustained by His Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament. Therefore Christians can be assured with Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ... For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:35, 38­39).



Word and Sacrament: Means of Grace

By the grace of God! Through faith, the gift of God! The question now arises, "What are the means by which we receive the benefits of God's grace and the gift of faith?" Scripture, our sole source of doctrine, gives the answer. St. Paul states: "Faith comes ... through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17; cf. Eph. 6:17)-- God's Word is one of the means by which the Holy Spirit works faith in the hearts of

believers. The same apostle declares in reference to Baptism: "But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:4­7). Likewise concerning Holy Communion Paul makes it clear that it is more than a symbol; it is a means of grace: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). We must not undervalue the function of the Spirit. There are three articles in the Apostles' Creed. In the first we confess the Father's creation and preservation of the physical universe and His provision for our bodily needs. The second article describes what the Son has done for us. The third article is equally important, for it expresses what the Holy Spirit does in us. Scripture presents the following statements about Baptism. First, infants need to be redeemed from their inherited state of sinfulness. The Bible says: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps. 51:5). Second, no individual (of any age) has a free will in spiritual matters, including the ability to make the decision to come to faith. St. Paul clearly states that by nature, "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks God" (Rom. 3:10­11). Third, the faith both of an adult and of a child is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8­9), the work of the Holy Spirit, who accomplishes it through the means of grace. God's Word and the sacraments are obviously more than mere symbols. That God's Word and His sacraments are the means by which believers receive the grace of God through faith, the gift of

God, is a teaching that is intertwined with the other principal doctrines discussed previously. It is absolutely essential, therefore, to recognize the Word of God and the sacraments as the means of grace through which the Holy Spirit functions in the life of the church and the individual Christian.


A central teaching of Christianity, implied in all the doctrines we have discussed--God's grace, faith alone, Scripture alone, Law and Gospel, the sacraments--is Christology, which concerns the person and work of Jesus Christ. John succinctly summarizes the Gospel message: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). The person of Jesus is unique in that He is both fully divine and completely human. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). His divine nature took on human nature: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Gal. 4:4­5). "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). Jesus always has been and always will be true God. When He was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, He became also true man (incarnation), which He still is and always will be. The time from His conception to the moment before He returned to life in the sealed tomb we call His state of humiliation. During this period Jesus humbled Himself and did not always use His divine power and qualities (attributes), although He did not cease to be God (Phil. 2:5­11). The time from His descent to hell and His resurrection throughout eternity we term His state of exaltation. During this period our resurrected Lord has always been and is now



present everywhere (omnipresent)--also according to His human nature--making full use of His divine powers and attributes (Matt. 28:18­20; Eph. 1:19­23). The Apostles' Creed, which millions of Christians confess every week (if not each day), mentions the specific events in both Jesus' humiliation and His exaltation. His humiliation includes: (1) "was conceived by the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:35); (2) "born of the virgin Mary" (Matt. 1:23); (3) "suffered under Pontius Pilate" (John 18:28­19:16); (4) "was crucified" (John 19:18); (5) "died, and was buried" (John 19:30, 41­42). Then follow the events of Jesus' exaltation: (1) "He descended into hell" (1 Peter 3:19­20--not to suffer or to offer deceased souls a second chance, but to proclaim His lordship); (2) "the third day He rose again from the dead" (Matt. 28:1­10); (3) "He ascended into heaven" (Luke 24:50­51); (4) "and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty" (Eph. 1:19­20); (5) "from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead" (Matt. 25:31­46; John 5:28­29; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:13­18). As the one and only Son of God, who is fully divine and at the same time completely human (but without sin), Jesus is the Mediator between God and the human race. He lived the perfectly obedient life that human beings cannot attain, fulfilling God's law for us (active obedience, 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 4:4­5). He suffered what sinful mankind deserves to suffer, surrendering to death on the cross and paying the penalty for the sins of the world (passive obedience), and overcame death by rising from the grave (John 10:15; 1 John 3:8; 1 Cor. 15:51­57). The benefit of Jesus' accomplishments is available to all people by the grace of God; it is received by believers through faith, which is the gift of God through the work of the Holy Spirit, who functions through God's

1 2 3

Word and the sacraments (the means of grace, Eph. 2:8­9). The ministry of Jesus, therefore, fulfills three roles: Prophet, Priest, and King. As Moses proclaimed the will of God, led Israel out of bondage, and was the person through whom God made a covenant at Sinai, so our Savior as Prophet proclaimed the message of His heavenly Father, announcing the rescue of mankind from bondage to sin, Satan, and death, and established a new covenant between God and man, validated in the shedding of His blood on the cross (Ex. 24:1­11; Jer. 31:31­34; Heb. 8:6­12; Mark 14:22­25). In the Old Testament the priest offered specified sacrifices as mediator between God and man. Jesus in the role of Priest became Mediator between God and human beings by offering up Himself as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, 36; Heb. 9:11­14). As Priest, furthermore, the resurrected Christ brings the needs and prayers of His people to the throne of His Father and serves them through His Word and sacraments (Rom. 8:34; Matt. 28:19­20; 2 Tim. 3:16; Titus 3:4­6). To describe Jesus' authority in the universe, Scripture frequently refers to Him as King (John 18:33­19:22), with a threefold kingdom. In His kingdom of power He rules the entire universe (Eph. 1:20­21); in His kingdom of grace He reigns over His church (Eph. 1:22); in His kingdom of glory He rules heaven and the world to come (Col. 1:15­20). Such is the person and work of our Savior, who experienced temptation, loneliness, fatigue, misunderstanding, mockery, and death--all for our sake. As His children, we may approach with confidence the heavenly throne of our Lord, who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and who will grant us mercy and grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:14­16).

Werke (Weimar, 1927), vol. 48, pp. 154­55, no. 201. Unchanging Truth in Changing Times: The Bible, LCMS, 2001. Introduction to Concordia Self-Study Bible, Concordia Publishing House, 1986, pp. xvi­xx.




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